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My kids are picky little eaters, especially my oldest daughter! Much of my time is spent trying to make a weekly menu that my kids will like and actually eat. I get plenty of advice from others with good intentions on this topic but since all kids are not created equal, often this advice does not work for me. If your kids are anything like mine you have been nodding your head in agreement while reading this but no need to worry, you can easily create a menu that works for you and that your kids will eat. Here are 4 tips to creating a kid-friendly menu that won’t stress you out.
Have a conversation
We often sadly forget our kids are little people with their own opinions. Before drafting a menu, talk to them about what they want and help them feel included. Even when they say chicken nuggets is all they want, don’t stress just give them a list of kid-friendly meals and ask them to choose. Make it clear that when they decide something, they are taking it on in its entirety so with the chicken nuggets comes the greens too. They don’t have to like everything you come up with, but at least they will feel heard and a tantrum can be avoided because they helped make the menu.
Cook for everyone
A quick way to become overwhelmed is cooking more than you have to. I used to cook one meal for my husband and I and another for the kids, which was very stressful and time-consuming. When creating your new kid-friendly menu include your favorite foods plus the ones that your kids picked while having your conversation with them. You will plan your meals so that everyone is happy and has a variety of food that they like. Children are known to mimic their parents as well so when they see you eating new things and making an empty plate, they will likely do the same. Making two meals, one to appease you and the other to appease the kids is too exhausting so learn to cook for everyone.
I have learned that prepping is my best friend when it comes to having a kid-friendly menu. Take some time at the beginning of the week to make your menu and prep the parts of your menu that you can. You can make several things at once, freeze it and break them out when you need them. Pack snacks and/or lunches and store them in the pantry or fridge so your kids can easily grab them and go. Preparing every meal each day is daunting enough and you have other things to do like spending time with the kids, housework and for some the stress of dealing with a lawyer on spousal support after marriage.
Make a schedule
Having a set schedule for when its time to eat will not only help avoid cranky kids but will help you follow your kid-friendly menu and be prepared. Schedule main meals to coincide with school or other activities and keep your fridge/pantry stocked with the foods you and your family selected. Your kids little tummies will know when its time to eat and are more likely to eat until they are full because of the schedule. If you have to go out during a scheduled time, no big deal, take a cooler with you stocked with selected food so you don’t have to rely on junk gas station or fast food. It will be stress-free since you already prepped for the day and everyone knows what is on the menu.